Publisher’s Notes: Phew! It’s been hectic around here at Spin Artiste headquarters. The first round of Secret Stash packages went out earlier in the week and I’m starting to gear up for the next round starting in March. The studio has been one big puff ball of fluff with all the fiber catering that’s been going on. Now, it’s time to take a break from all that and get down to the business of the Featured Artist of the week! This week I have the pleasure of posting the interview that I did with Trish Weill of Delish Design last month. Trish is a multi-talented fiber artist with a lot to share with us!
Spin Artiste (SA): Hey, Trish! Thanks for being with us this week. To begin, how did you make your way to fiber arts?
Trish Weill (TW): I’ve always been tactile- you know, that person who calls fabric delicious and touches everything to see how it feels. My grandma tried three times to teach me crochet as a tween; my patience was just not there. In my twenties I spent most of my time designing at a computer – I craved something to do with my hands; so I picked up a pair of knitting needles and taught myself to knit. Pattern-making, spinning, felting & crochet came soon after. I found real patience and a passion for fiber.
SA: From reading your website, I know that you are a classically trained artist — what is your background? If you had not had the training that you’ve had, how do you think your approach to your artistry would be different?
TW: My degree is in graphic design – I’ve been studying art in all forms since I can remember. My first love was oil painting. Training instilled structure and confidence in me. I find that following the creative process frees my mind to fully manifest my ideas. Without it, my ideas would just be tangled mess. Without confidence, I may not have followed my dreams of being an artist.
SA: You are also a teacher — how long have you been teaching? How does being a teacher influence your artistry?
TW: I’m on year four with the college, and on my own longer still. I’m sharing my passions with others, it doesn’t get much better than that. Empowering others to create is one of the best feelings. The students’ ideas and enthusiasm further my work in countless ways…but mostly urging me back to the ideas I’ve let slip by, and fusion of ideas & techniques.
SA: For your Introduction to Fiber Arts class, tell us about the students that are attracted to taking the class? What are their pre-conceived notions about fiber arts? How does their perspective change during the course of the class? What are they required to produce for the class?
TW: There are those students who are already in craft – and also students those who need art credit, or a filler class. Craft folks already have some correct notions about the hands-on nature of the class, the other two types tend to expect it to be a lecture/book reading class. They are usually surprised about the extent we explore fiber art hands on. Each week students are required to complete an experiment in a specific fiber art skill, bring in and discuss their experiences. Topics included are dyeing, spinning, knitting, crochet, felting, etc. A quarter of their grade is creating a final project or collection that incorporates at least three skills learned in class. Everyone leaves knowing countless fibers by touch, a dozen or more skills in fiber & needle arts, and a deepened appreciation of artists, too.
SA: From reading the syllabus for the Introduction to Fiber Arts class, I see that you also discuss the historical significance and the role of fiber arts in gender issues and cultural heritage. What do you hope the students will learn from that discussion?
TW: For me it is about breaking all preconceived notions. I hope that students further develop fiber arts armed with lessons learned in history, avoiding the pitfalls, and expanding their own creativity in the medium. Long story short, I hope they know the history & “rules” so that they can choose to keep or break them.
SA: Where do you make it all happen? Tell us about your studio/work area.
TW: I’m lucky in that I have a home & off-site studio. They reflect different stages of my art. My home studio is a place of inspiration, incubation, and trials; whereas, my public studio space, while inspirational, includes finished pieces, supplies & tools for classes.
SA: And, what equipment do you use and why?
TW: Two of my favorites are my Kromski Mazurka wheel (my dancing gypsy that spins like a dream, lace or funky chunky) and I have a Louet Drum Carder (second hand) — an indispensable tool for blended batts, tweed yarns and mix add-ins like feathers to art yarns.
SA: Where do you draw your inspiration for your work?
SA: What is on the horizon for delishdesign this year?
TW: Lots of classes & workshops, an educational symposium, working on two toy pattern books, and one book based on my intro to fiber arts course. Also planning show concepts- one based on tree ecosystems & another based on archaeological relics. My hope is to make science, math and history education more tactile for the next generation.
SA: Whenever I interview someone who teaches, I’m always interested in finding out what the teacher wants to know…What would you still like to learn?
SA: You are skilled in many mediums, what is special about fiber?
TW: Above all mediums, fiber is the one art form that Feels. The soft slippery caress of freshly spun silk, a cozy warm pair of hand knitted wool mittens, the hug of a camel & angora scarf. Fiber offers the largest range of creativity, technical variation, physical sensations & emotional connections for me — and I’ve always felt that art should engage me in mind, body & soul…fiber does that.
SA: OK, one last question and we’re going to make it personal – What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
SA: Great answer!!! Thanks so much, Trish! Readers, if you have not already done so, check out Trish’s website and if you are ever in Vermont, put Trish’s studio on your list of places to see.
And…we have not had a giveaway in awhile here at Spin Artiste…so, Trish has very kindly offered a trio of funky hand dyed, carded rolags of fibers — pics and details available Sunday night…so exciting!!!
Also, I will be back this weekend with an update on the Secret Stash Game. The packages have gone out to our spinners and on Sunday night, I’m going to share some pics of what was sent out. So, c’mon back on Sunday. Till then, all the best, Arlene